Being connected to those we care about has significant benefits, no matter how old we are. Many studies have shown that seniors who make the effort to stay connected to friends and family have a lower incidence of depression and physical ailments and have a higher quality of life overall. Thanks to advances in technology, it’s never been easier for seniors to stay connected to family and friends and stay as socially active as possible.
“When seniors are removed from social interaction, they experience isolation and loneliness, which can lead to physical ailments, depression and other issues,” says Devon Sicard, Executive Director of Bridges® at Pembroke, a memory care assisted living community in Pembroke, MA. “That’s why keeping older adults engaged and connected is incredibly important in order to help them age well, stay healthy and enjoy everything their senior years have to offer.”
One of the best ways for seniors to connect, says Devon, is by using video chatting software like Skype or Facetime to stay in touch with friends and family. While a phone call can allow you to hear the voice of someone across the country or even the world, video chatting allows you to have a face-to-face conversation no matter where you are – all it takes is the right software and the Internet, and you’re good to go.
“Some seniors or their family members may balk at the idea of video chatting because it’s viewed as complicated or too ‘techy’ for a senior to grasp,” says Devon. “The truth is, however, that seniors are one of the fastest-growing users of technology because they’re very eager adopters. Since so many aspects of digital technology have been designed to be intuitive, it’s easier than ever for seniors to learn how to use them and integrate them into their daily lives.”
The Benefits of Video Chatting
Video chatting can be a full experience, and while nothing is a substitute for being in the same room with someone, video chats can be the next best thing. Here are just a few of the benefits of video chatting for seniors:
It allows seniors to stay in touch with loved ones who are far away.
Society these days is more spread out than ever, and if you’re a senior, it’s more than likely that the people who are most important to you may not be in the same city – or even the same time zone. Video chatting allows you to bridge that distance to stay connected to anyone, any place, any time. Because you’re able to see the faces of loved ones, it makes communicating more interactive and personal. It’s great, especially for those with young children, who may not be able to carry on a full conversation but can enjoy seeing you on-screen. You can even use video chatting to carry on family traditions or nurture relationships, such as reading a bedtime story with your grandchildren, putting on a puppet show to entertain a baby or having your school-aged relatives showing off their most recent school project.
For family members of older adults, video chatting allows them to check-in on a more frequent basis, which is important if they live far away and can’t visit very often. Unlike the phone, video chatting can actually allow you to “see” how a senior is doing and get insight into their quality of life.
It makes communication easier for adults with hearing loss.
Talking on the phone can be difficult if a senior is losing their hearing. Video chatting, on the other hand, allows participants to have the full spectrum of communication – both verbal and non-verbal. Hand gestures, body language, facial expressions and other visual cues can help everyone follow and participate in a conversation. Some video chats also have the option for “closed captioning” or “live subtitles,” which can help understanding even further.
It prevents or lessens the risk of depression and isolation.
Depression is a significant risk factor for seniors who can become isolated due to age-related issues such as illness, disease or mobility issues. It’s estimated that approximately 6 million Americans age 65 and older are affected by depression. New research is suggesting that video chatting is a promising way to help seniors avoid isolation and depression. A recent study reports that seniors who used video chat reported a lower risk of depression than other older adults who use other forms of online communication. This is more than likely due to the fact that of all online communication, video chatting is the most interactive and personal form
It can help seniors feel like they’re part of something, even when they’re not there.
We’re not talking about “part of something” in a vague way, either. These days, with Wi-Fi and data plans available just about anywhere you go, even seniors who can’t travel can be a part of big days like Thanksgiving gatherings, weddings and holiday events. While it’s a little unconventional, it can be just the thing for a senior who’s not able to make a destination wedding but still wants to watch the ceremony. Or, it allows college-age grandchildren to enjoy a holiday meal with Grandma and Grandpa, even if they’re across the country.
Getting Seniors Started with Video Chatting
- Download an app to their tablet or smartphone. Many seniors these days have smartphones or some form of mobile technology. The easiest way to start video chatting? Install an app right on their home screen and have favorite contacts already programmed in. Tech-savvy seniors may be able to figure this out all on their own, but for those who need a little more help, enlist one of the younger generation to set it up.
- Purchase a senior-specific product for video chatting. There are a variety of products on the market that are designed specifically for making video chatting easier for seniors. Products like the ViewClix Smart Frame, the GrandPad or the Amazon Echo Spot are intuitive products that can get Grandma or Grandpa chatting within minutes.
It’s not always easy for seniors to visit loved ones, but there’s no reason that distance should separate them from the people they care about. Being able to video chat with family and friends gives seniors an opportunity to socialize, nurture relationships and carry on meaningful conversations in-person even if you’re not technically there “in person.”
Compassionate Care for All Stages of Memory Loss
Bridges® by EPOCH at Pembroke provides assisted living memory care that is comfortable, positive, safe and engaging. Exclusively dedicated to caring for those with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia or memory impairment, we’ve created a wellness-focused lifestyle that promotes dignity and individual preferences. Our memory care professionals receive specialized and ongoing training designed to help residents maximize their independence in a secure, calm environment – making a truly positive impact on the lives of our residents each and every day.
Dedicated Memory Care
The team of compassionate dementia-care experts at Bridges® by EPOCH at Pembroke delivers 24-hour assistance and inspiring programs that exercise physical and cognitive abilities – all in a supportive, purposefully designed environment. For added peace of mind, we offer simple, all-inclusive pricing options that help make the process a little easier for families.
Characterized by a beautiful residential design, Bridges® by EPOCH at Pembroke provides everything residents with memory loss need to enjoy comfort, familiarity and security. Soft colors, directional cues, aromatherapy and interactive life stations create a peaceful and secure environment where residents feel at home.
Contact us today to learn more.